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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Paul Green (1894-1981) and Paul Green Theatre

Completed in 1978, this theater bears the name of Paul Green, a distinguished southern dramatist and longtime university professor. Green was a native of Harnett County, North Carolina. He graduated in 1921 from Carolina, where he took playwriting classes from Frederick Koch. He went on to win the 1927 Pulitzer Prize for his Broadway play In Abraham’s Bosom, a work written in black dialect that addresses miscegenation, lynching, and racism. Relying on Koch’s notion of a “people’s theater,” Green created the symphonic drama: a pageant performed in actual historical settings with music, dance, and lavish costumes. The best-known of his sixteen symphonic dramas is The Lost Colony (1937), the story of a doomed English settlement on the North Carolina coast. Green taught philosophy and writing at Chapel Hill, where his example inspired the next generation of southern writers. His protests against the death penalty and segregation also made him an influential figure in southern politics.